Everton feel Ancelotti bounce as Brighton, Watford secure much-needed wins
Everton’s renaissance under Carlo Ancelotti continued as Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s double earned a 2-1 win at Newcastle, whilst Brighton and Watford secured big wins in their battle to avoid relegation.
Ancelotti’s reign at Goodison Park got off to a flying start thanks Calvert-Lewin’s winner against Burnley on Boxing Day and the in-form England under-21 international was the Toffees’ hero once more on Tyneside.
Calvert-Lewin rewarded a bright start from the visitors and an adventurous line-up from Ancelotti as he swept home after the ball ricocheted around the Newcastle box.
The Magpies responded well to falling behind, though, and deservedly equalised early in the second period through Fabian Schar.
However, Newcastle was level for only eight minutes as they were caught by Everton’s pace on the break when Richarlison squared for Calvert-Lewin to slide in for his 10th goal of the season.
Victory takes Everton above Newcastle into the top half of the table.
Crystal Palace could have moved to within three points of the top four with victory at Southampton and took the lead at St. Mary’s through James Tomkins’s header.
However, a terrible error from Martin Kelly undid Palace’s good work as he teed up Southampton’s talisman Danny Ings to level and edge the Saints four points clear of the bottom three.
Brighton climbed up to 14th, five points clear of the drop zone, as Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Aaron Mooy’s first goals for the club in a 2-0 win over Bournemouth.
Jahanbakhsh has struggled to make an impact on the south coast since a big-money move from AZ Alkmaar at the beginning of last season.
The Iranian was moved to tears when he opened the scoring with his first Premier League goal less than three minutes into his first league start of the season.
“It was a great moment for everyone in the stadium, especially Ali. He deserves it,” said Brighton boss Graham Potter.
“He worked away every day with exemplary behaviour. We all wanted him to contribute and he did that today.”
Mooy then produced a moment of magic to secure the points 11 minutes from time as he controlled the ball on his chest, turned inside his marker and curled the ball into the far corner.
Watford closed to within three points of safety thanks to a second home win in as many games under Nigel Pearson as the Hornets beat Aston Villa 3-0 despite playing half an hour with 10 men when Adrian Mariappa saw red.
Troy Deeney had given Watford the lead eight minutes before half-time and doubled his side’s advantage from the penalty spot soon after Mariappa was shown a second yellow card.
Ismaila Sarr then rounded off a miserable afternoon for Villa, who remain in the bottom three after a fifth defeat in six league games.